Knit with FLAX-itude


My Favorite Sweater Pattern

As I type this, I've got two additional sweaters in various stages of completion, staring me down from a pile of knitting and yarn on my side table. Like most knitters, I often have trouble sticking to one project at a time. But these sweaters should be finished within the week as they are various design version of my favorite sweater pattern: Flax by Tin Can Knits.

Before knitting this sweater - a gorgeous attempt at mingling three different worsted weight Malabrigo yarn color selections I purchased from Unwind Yarn & Gifts (Malabrigo is my singular yarn addiction - but more on that later), I had knit other sweater patterns here and there. Nothing really struck me as 'fun' to knit. Interesting, skill expanding, yes. But fun? Knitters know sweaters are generally not fun to knit. Unless you find the right one!

The Flax sweater pattern is a game changer. I can honestly say I may even be addicted to it. My daughter said to me just yesterday as I was finishing up the second sleeve of her second sweater, "Mama, I think I'm going to have a lot of sweaters in my closet." True statement. She picked the yarn herself for this gorgeous Malabrigo interpretation of the faded sweater fad. The colors we used from neckline to waistline are as follows:

-Malabrigo 412 Teal Feather

-Malabrigo 139 Pocion

-Malabrigo 855 Aguas

Tin Can Knits offers this pattern for sweaters of all sizes from baby to adult, and in two main weights; worsted for the main pattern, or Flax Light for those in warmer climates choosing to use fingering weight yarns. I've knit both, but this blog will highlight my first Flax sweater, using the basic pattern for adult size small. I knit this for my youngest daughter, and while even winters tend to be mild to warm in coastal Georgia, she has worn this sweater all winter long this year to my delight.

A "Top Down" Sweater Pattern

The Flax sweater pattern is what is referred to as a 'top down' sweater pattern. I state this for those of you new to knitting, or new to knitting sweaters. Again, there are all types of sweater patterns, and not all top down patterns are easy or even 'fun', but this one is my favorite for many reasons.

The neckline is a standard sweater neckline, however I need to note that I changed it. My daughters don't always like traditional necklines so while I did cast on the required stitches, I knit 3 inches of Garter Stitch instead.

This allowed for a looser fitting neckline that also matched the garter stitch decorative stripe on the top side of each sleeve keeping the revised design cohesive.

Sometimes patterns call for stitch markers and I'm pretty good at keeping track so I shamelessly admit that I don't use them unless it's a complicated pattern. Although you really only need 5 stitch markers for the beginning of this pattern until you separate the chest from the sleeves, you really, REALLY need them. Especially if you've never ever knit a top down sweater.

Again, this pattern is easy but anytime you take on a new pattern you should follow as much of the directions as possible.

I don't own too many stitch markers - and sometimes I just get lazy to get up and find mine - so for this sweater I just looped up brightly colored, contrasting yarn and made some quick stitch markers (that is the yellow bits of yarn you'll see in some of the photos). The stitch markers made the neckline and chest go really fast, and they are a definite necessity for the sleeves.

To date, there are almost 9,000 completed Flax sweaters on Ravelry, and almost 6,000 queued up, ready to be knit - and these numbers don't cover the thousands more on the Flax (Light) sweater page. Makes me grateful for Ravelry in so many ways. Not only for introducing me to amazing free patterns like this, but for connecting me to endless amounts of inspiration from enthusiastic knitters all over the world; some new, some decades into the craft. But all can easily knit this sweater!

And on that note, add me to your Ravelry freinds <3 @Blacksheepcs

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